A while back I was working in a wireless sensor network research lab. While there,I dealt alot with the intercacies of small embedded machines, that had to deal with limited amounts of power, heterogenous architectures, as well as operating systems, and wireless hardware. Fast forward 10 years roughly and the field seems less vibrant than it was, however the idea of connected devices seems very much so alive. The problem with WSN’s, in general has been a lack of a real killer application. That coupled with ever increasing battery life, has limited the field’s growth. The less constrained version of WSN , IoT the Internet of Things on the other hand has been burgeoning. You can really see large corporation like google releasing a IoT hub. It could proceed a very nice unification of inter device communication, that is currently non existent with bluetooth today. It would be great if devices became searchable much like the internet is today, where you could write an app, that found out the specific things that exist in a an environment by first talking to the IoT hub, then finding a listing of addressable and actionable devices in the area. This would be insanely desirable, you could imagine having very general programs/devices .
Imagine that toaster lists standard features and makes itself discoverable to the IoT Hub. You could write very general programs that worked with your personal preferences, in connected environments. Something that ultimately, might not be useful for human interaction based applications, but something that might make bridging virtual access to physical access for machines easier. The gist is, making a physical robot is hard, bearings, physics, wheel slippage, join slippage, vision. Making a virtual robot(simple control system/ soft ai system) is far simpler. Currently, the virtual robot just needs better access to the physical world. The killer app I’d like to see is a a breakfast program, that I could have on my phone and would simply be able to work in any hotel room , that followed a general set of settings. I could get my dry bagel, and coffee with cream at a specified time anywhere I went. And the implementation wouldn’t need to be custom any more custom than first connecting to the hub, seeing what types of devices were in existence , and then sending the data.